Can we dispense with the false equivalencies, please?

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It was only a matter of time and it didn’t take long. The self-anointed apologists have begun dispensing the inevitable mea culpas about how “the US is guilty too.” The usual suspects are being dragged out: Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia — and let us not forget — Mexico. Please. The usual masochistic threnody of how we’ve been just as bad as Vladimir Putin is already getting tiresome.

It’s time to draw an unambiguous line in the sand between Vladimir Putin and us, or Vladimir Putin and the rest of the world. Putin is a man of unreconstructed evil. Yes, we have much to answer for as a nation for what we did to native Americans and yes we have much to answer for what we did to native Africans in centuries past. But now is not the time. If we’re going to win this battle between good and evil we have to be clear on one thing. No matter how evil we have been before, Putin is the evil one now. Not only that, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I have a feeling he has not yet begun to be evil.

So can we drop the historical false equivalencies, please? Some of the things that we did in the nineteenth century or in the 1970s or out of our anger and grief after 9/11 were bad, okay, but they aren’t the same. They were another era with different rules, different motivations, different moralities and different levels of social and political maturity. Besides, such ruminations do us no good at all in 2022. We need to focus one hundred percent, unflinchingly and unwaveringly on the task at hand. Our nefarious past isn’t going to solve a thing.

Putin is attacking a sovereign, peaceful, democratic nation without provocation, and he’s doing it today in 2022. Like a petulant child he’s threatening to blow up the entire world if anyone stands in his way. I don’t need a history lesson just now and neither does anyone else. We need solutions. We need to stop him, thwart him and disarm him any way we can. And we need to make sure he doesn’t resort to the nuclear option.

This requires subtle and effective geopolitical manoeuvring on a master level. Thankfully we don’t have Trump in charge just now. I spent four years of hand-wringing anxiety hoping Trump would never be confronted with a situation of Cuban Missile Crisis proportions and was relieved that he never was. Let’s be thankful that we have leaders like Joe Biden, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Olaf Scholz, Emmanuel Macron and, yes, even Boris Johnson, in charge just now.

But one thing I can do without are the finger-wagging historians. I’m usually all for free speech, but right now I could use a little freedom from speech when it comes to such people. So kindly keep your self-righteous historical object lessons to yourselves. We’ve got a war to fight. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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